23 Top cricketer

23 – Peter Vidamour

THIS late developer ultimately became one of Guernsey’s most successful and respected cricketers of the past 40 years. Although he played at Elizabeth College, there were no Victoria first team clashes for him, but having moved through the divisions in the colours of St Pierre and then Tortevites through the 1980s, he became a real force towards the end of the decade and into the ’90s. He won the first of his dozen Island caps in 1982, when he did not bat, and five years later was back as an opener, scoring 25 before losing his stumps to Jersey quickie Barry Middleton. The period 1986 through to 1990 was hugely prolific for him. In 1986 his half-century laid the foundations for Tortevites’ first major success, victory in the GCA KO final.

A year later he registered four centuries in domestic cricket. In 1988 he topped the Division One scorers lists with 545 runs for Tortevites and in the Haig Trophy inter-insular at Grainville he hit a match- winning 88 not out to scoop an expenses-paid trip to the NatWest final at Lord’s as man of the match. His innings was the highest by a Guernseyman in the series for a quarter of a century and, on another day, he may well, have gone all the way to three figures. As it happened, a rush of runs from batting partner Mark Bacon at the end denied him the chance. Vidamour had batted beautifully and gave just one chance, a sharp one when he had made 62. All told, he batted a shade under three hours and faced 142 balls.

In 1989 he again scored most runs in the top division and, overall, amassed 1,000 competitive runs, including two centuries and eight scores of 50-plus. In 1990, he added a further 585 Evening League runs, only to finish second to Mark Bacon’s incredible 756 runs, still a record today.

That same year, he was a trusted opener as Guernsey won the European Cricketer Cup on home soil. That week he would score an undefeated 58 against the French and 68 against the Austrians. At some stage in this golden period, he achieved the remarkable feat of scoring two centuries in the same day. His remaining eight inter-insular appearances failed to bring about big runs from an opener who had long adopted a high back lift in his stance as he waited for the bowler to deliver. But in club cricket he remained a force, initially with Pessimists and then Cobo, where he would win the Evening League numerous times and become part of a very successful squad who lifted virtually every trophy available to them as one of the best sides in the Channel Islands.

His Island playing career considered over, he became manager of the Guernsey side at the turn of the millennium and went on to become player-manager in 2001 due to his fine batting form. As he said at the time, ‘I had written off my chances of ever playing again [in the inter-insular], but this season I’ve felt good.’ Although Guernsey did not win that year, they memorably broke a ID-year losing streak against the old enemy the following year at Grainville, where Vidamour was solely manager again. When his successor, David Hearse, stepped down, he returned for a second spell in charge and enjoyed success on the international stage with Guernsey by now an ICC nation. Always a very sound judge of a player, ‘Yids’ retired with the satisfaction of eking every bit out of modest youth potential.